Omicron Delta Kappa, The National Leadership Honor Society, was founded December
3, 1914, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, by fifteen student and faculty leaders. In the tradition of the idealism and leadership of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the founders formulated the idea that leadership of exceptional quality and versatility in college should be recognized, that representatives in all phases of college life should cooperate in worthwhile endeavors and that outstanding students, faculty and administration members should meet on a basis of mutual interest, understanding, and helpfulness.
The motives which guided the founders sprang from a desire to bring together in one body, for the general good of the institution, all leaders in the various phases of college activities. They were convinced that such an honor society, properly conducted, would offer maximum opportunities and experiences for the campus. It would also serve as a cooperative effort for more effective leadership and service in the purposes, interests, and needs of the institution, and for the maintenance and improvement of the unity and democracy of learning and citizenship responsibilities.
History of the Alpha Upsilon Chapter
The Alpha Upsilon circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa Society at the University of Georgia was founded on Monday night April 29th, 1935. The founding group consisted of twelve student leaders and four faculty members, including S.V. Sanford, then the President of the University.
On November 10th, 1937 Dean William Tate was initiated as an honorary member and went on to serve as faculty secretary until retiring from the role in 1971. In his ODK files, Dean Tate described the society as “the most respected organization of this nature on the campus” of UGA.
Throughout its history, ODK has talked of ambitious undertakings, including the establishment of a Student Government Association; enactment of an honor code; establishment of a president’s club for the presidents of student organizations; and regularly hosted student leader banquets, often times in collaboration with Mortar Board.
Following several years of relative inactivity, the Alpha Upsilon Circle is again alive and thriving. With its new home in the Center for Leadership and Service, a dedicated membership, and an inspired vision, ODK is once again asking the right questions, establishing ambitious goals, and following through on those goals for the betterment of the University of Georgia.
Indeed, “It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit.” – Robert Yates